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East Harlem Gas Leak Explosion: Anyone Affected Might Have a Suit

Mar 21, 2014 | Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

In just a few minutes, everything can change and that was the case for the residents of 1644 and 1646 Park Ave. in East Harlem. On March 12, 2014 people had left for work and school as usual for a Wednesday morning. One woman noted that she had smelled gas and thought she had left her stove on, but she went back in to check, and it was off. Another woman on the second floor named Sarah Borrero said she smelled gas on Wednesday morning as well. Hiring an experienced NYC personal injury lawyer will be able to answer any questions or concerns regarding the accident and next steps that are need to be taken.

Fortunately over half of the residents had already left to go about their day because at 9:30 am there was an explosion and the buildings imploded, and left approximately two and a half floors of rubble covering the bodies of those who could not get out. By Thursday morning, 24 hours later, NYPD & NYFD personnel were searching the mountain of rubble with cadaver dogs.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation into the March 12 disaster — which killed eight people and injured over 60 according to  CNN— and is poring over Con Ed’s call logs and the maintenance history of the problematic gas lines, sources said Monday. Over 250 N.Y.F.D fire fighters responded to the blaze the explosion ignited. This is a difficult job, a challenging job,” fire department spokesman Jim Long said. He said it was “a very terrible and traumatic scene.”

Con Ed officials were made to sign a document agreeing not to disclose information about what took place after the leak was reported last Wednesday.

The investigation and then the courts, where many of these cases  in all likelihood may end up, will determine if Con Edison was negligent in not detecting and repairing the faulty gas lines prior to the explosion.

The Horrific Gas Explosion

The blast from the gas leak was felt by the surrounding blocks, and recovery teams also found a water main break and a sinkhole at the buildings. Authorities believe that it may have been the sinkhole that jolted the gas lines causing the explosion, but many of the residents knew it was more serious than that. Some tenants stated that they had smelled gas for several weeks. Building 1644 had installed 120 new feet of piping for a stove on the second floor, and 1646 still had a complaint from 2008 that there was a crack in the structure that was open and unaddressed.

The effects on the Community

The Metro North Railroad to Grand Central was shut down for over five hours as the seismographs from Columbia University actually registered a 0.3 on the Richter scale when the buildings collapsed. Trains have been restricted to a maximum speed of 45mph, and there were delays of 10-15 minutes all day. The surrounding buildings shook and so shocked the residents that 100 people left and found shelter at the Red Cross.

Of those found dead was single mom, Griselda Comacho who stayed home from work with an asthma attack and 67 year old Carmen Tanco, which brought the total on Thursday to eight fatalaties between the ages of three months and 79 years. These victims died from a combination of blunt trauma, burns & smoke inhalation.

Contact New York Personal Injury Law Firm Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP.

A horrific accident like this not only causes death and injury to those involved, but those who are still living have lost their homes and everything that they owned. If you or someone that you know was involved in this explosion or any other catastrophic accident due to another parties negligence, contact the experienced New York wrongful death attorneys at Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP. to protect your or your families’ rights and start the process to obtain justice & compensation for your injuries. Call the Manhattan office at (212) 425-1999 and the Brooklyn office at (718) 875-3550 to schedule an initial consultation at no cost to you. There is never a fee unless they recover money for your injuries, pain & suffering, lost income & medical bills.

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